The Longhursts Of Epsom And Ewell

Background

In the 1851 census there were three little Longhursts dotted around Epsom, all of whom were born in the Lambeth area of South London. But they were not in Epsom by accident: their mother had come from there and the Longhursts had been Surrey people for many generations.

In 1824 Solomon Longhurst, originally from Ewhurst, Surrey, married Elizabeth Cunningham of Epsom and they lived in the Lambeth/Newington/Bermondsey area, where Solomon was a greengrocer. Elizabeth then died, probably in 1847, and some of the surviving children were 'parked' on Epsom relatives. Reuben (born c.1838) was with his uncle, cow keeper William Cunningham, and Edwin (1845) and Josiah (1842) were with their widowed aunt, Judith Cook (née Cunningham), in Linton's Lane. Judith was a schoolteacher. Meanwhile, Solomon had become a coal dealer in Lambeth, where one of his sons, Edward, assisted him. Josiah died in 1854 in Pancras district. Reuben also became a greengrocer and moved back to Lambeth; he died in 1868.

Edwin Longhurst (1845-1920)

In the 1861 census Edwin was still with his Aunt Judith and was now an apprentice carpenter. Solomon was in lodgings in Sutton, Surrey and died in Epsom Union Workhouse in 1867: he was 'buried by friends'.

In 1866 Edwin married Eliza Brown from Woodley, Berkshire, cook to Rebecca Eisdell, who ran a small school at The Cedars in Church Street, Epsom. In the 1871 census they and Aunt Judith (died 1875) were together in Linton's Lane. By 1881 Edwin was a builder employing six hands and by 1891 he had become a timber merchant, living at 28 East Street, Epsom. He and Eliza had several children, but the ones we are concerned with initially, all born in Epsom, are Harold (1867), Charles (1876), Frank (1878) and Leonard (1882), all of whom eventually joined the family firm.

Grave of Eliza and Edwin at Epsom Cemetery.
Grave of Eliza and Edwin at Epsom Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Gravestone Photographic Resource.

An early timber lorry belonging to E Longhurst & Sons Ltd
An early timber lorry belonging to E Longhurst & Sons Ltd
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Harold is the man whose trail we ultimately want to follow, so we will leave him until last.

Charles Longhurst (1876-1963)

In 1904 Charles married Ellen Elizabeth Elson (1880-1958), daughter of local coachbuilder James Elson. Charles was a partner in E Longhurst & Sons and by 1911 he was a timber merchant's manager living in Dorking (the firm had a branch in Dorking).

Frank Longhurst (1878-1953)

In 1911 Frank was a furniture dealer, living in Ewell. In 1900 he married Elizabeth Keen (1882-1953). He was also a partner in the firm of E Longhurst & Sons.

Leonard Longhurst (1882-1961)

Leonard went to live in Dorking and was a cartage contractor. He married Ada Knox from Walworth.

Harold Longhurst (1867-1955)


Harold was also in the family timber business, initially as a foreman and then a manager. His wife was Louisa Harriett (or vice versa) Randall from Kew, Surrey. They had two sons, who were Harrison (1886) and Stanley Charles (1892-1971). Harold died in 1955 and his wife in 1956.

Harriett Louisa
Harold
Grave of Harold and Harriett Louisa at Epsom Cemetery.
Images courtesy of Gravestone Photographic Resource.

Stanley already has a biography on this website. Harrison, who died in 1957, married Annie Milley Spencer (1885-1969); they lived at 89 College Road, Epsom. He was associated with the Epsom United Reform Church (formerly the Congregational Church), to which he left a substantial legacy. A 'Longhurst Room' was incorporated in the church when it was rebuilt after a fire in 1961.

As far as I am aware, neither Stanley nor Harrison had any children.

Grave of Harrison and Ann(ie) Longhurst at Epsom Cemetery.
Grave of Harrison and Ann(ie) Longhurst at Epsom Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Gravestone Photographic Resource.

The Longhurst businesses

As mentioned earlier, Edwin started the family timber business in Epsom and, as time went on, the firm established branches in Dorking, Hull and Kerry, Montgomeryshire; it was also a builders' merchant. In due course, Edwin's sons, Harold, Charles and Leonard were taken into partnership and, later on, Harrison and Stanley too.

Watercolour of Longhursts timber yard in the 1910s.
Watercolour of Longhursts timber yard in the 1910s.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum.

Longhursts builders' merchants.
Longhursts builders' merchants.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum.

In 1921 Leonard retired from the business, but the other partners continued and the last principal of the firm was Stanley, who died in 1971.

However, there were other Longhurst businesses in the area which still exist today. Harold ventured into undertaking, in 1935, setting up a firm called Longhurst (Undertakers) Ltd with a man called James English. This is the business which is currently at 8/10 Pound Lane, Epsom.

A 1956 account from Longhurst (Undertakers Ltd). - Click image to enlarge
A 1956 account from Longhurst (Undertakers Ltd). Click image to enlarge
Image courtesy of Epsom & Ewell Local History Centre

Harrison and Stanley were also in undertaking as a spin-off from the timber business and that firm was called Longhurst & Pratt, which additionally dealt in ironmongery and estate agency. The other undertaking firm, which still exists, is A & E Longhurst at 21-23 Kingston Road, Ewell. The 'A & E' were another of Edwin's sons, Alfred (c.1871-1939, originally a builder), and his son, Ewart Alfred (1898- 1948).

Ewell premises of Alfred & Ewart Longhurst.
Ewell premises of Alfred & Ewart Longhurst.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum.

Another Longhurst Family

The family of Harry and Margaret Longhurst is dealt with in depth elsewhere on this website. (Link To Cecil Frank Longhurst.) They were almost certainly related to the other Longhurst family, as they also originated from the area around Dorking.

Linda Jackson © March 2012

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